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  1. #1
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    Thinking about going car free, help swing me

    I have been thinking about going car free for a while especially as I start go enjoy cycling more and more. But I have some concerns about making the big step.

    I work a farm job during the summer, about 10 miles out of town. Its a tough job and I have to be at work at 7am, if I sold my car I would have to leave my house around 6am to make it on time but I worry about doing this and exhausting myself before and after work.

    My girlfriend also says that if I sell my car I will regret it, especially when I need to go somewhere further then I am willing to peddle or when I have to carry something heavy. Right now I have a truck so its nice when we need to haul something and I worry about giving this up.

    Any tips on what some of you did facing similar situations?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Hi Freud.

    The only thing I think anyone can really say is try it before jumping into the deep end of the pool and selling your car.

    If your job is only 10 miles out, let me be the first to say that this distance is nothing, and needn't tire you out if you're in even moderately good shape, tough job or no. In fact, low-impact cycling to the job over a long period of time will probably make the job easier because you will be more aerobically fit. Bodies are amazingly hardy and resiliant, and respond best to aerobic conditioning, not anaerobic work activities.

    I do long-distance touring; that's my big bicycling passion. I've done rides of over 100 miles in a single day before, often in tough, hilly terrain both here in Cali and back east in the Appalachians, and 10 miles (or 20 miles round trip) has never ripped me up in any way. Maybe that's just me though.

    Again, your girlfriend may be right and you may regret it. Who knows? That's all up to you and your outlook - not her, not me, not anyone else. All you.

    My advice: Don't sell the truck just yet. But try making a sort of inner pact with yourself, if you're honest enough with yourself to stick to it: Say, "OK, in the next 3 months, I will only use my truck when I feel it is for an absolutely necessary reason like hauling 400 pounds of something or driving 800 miles, but not for beer runs, dates, getting a bag of chips, or joy riding."

    See if this has a beneficial impact on your life. See if you feel better about yourself. See if you like it. And see if it has an impact on how your girlfriend acts towards you too! Not to generalize too terribly, but (assuming you're American) American women don't usually look too kindly on carless men.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Denny Koll's Avatar
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    The thing I would worry about is that with the truck available it's too easy to jump in the truck to get to work...if you feel like sleeping in or the weather is bad. I think you should give the keys to your girlfriend..keep the truck for a while..and make a sincere effort to not use it.

  4. #4
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Koll
    The thing I would worry about is that with the truck available it's too easy to jump in the truck to get to work...if you feel like sleeping in or the weather is bad. I think you should give the keys to your girlfriend..keep the truck for a while..and make a sincere effort to not use it.
    Yeah, I was car free before I sold the car, I just didn't know it. I didn't need to give the keys to anyone I just gradually stopped using it. Give the car up first, then sell it. Don't wait to sell it like I did. I could've sold it years before I did and saved a bunch of money on taxes and tags and stuff.

  5. #5
    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine
    Hi Freud.
    My advice: Don't sell the truck just yet. But try making a sort of inner pact with yourself, if you're honest enough with yourself to stick to it: Say, "OK, in the next 3 months, I will only use my truck when I feel it is for an absolutely necessary reason like hauling 400 pounds of something or driving 800 miles, but not for beer runs, dates, getting a bag of chips, or joy riding."
    +1
    go car-lite first. Try biking to work. stick with it for a few weeks and I think you'll find it really doesn't wear you out too much for the job. My job used to be very active (not so much anymore) and the biking just revved me up for it.
    Cheers
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  6. #6
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Your Super-ego is totally giving you an Al Gore-style guilt trip about your excessive carbon emissions, your Id has excess libido energy to burn off in the form of cardiovascular exercise, your Ego is on an online forum asking for advice, and cycling helps ease cocaine withdrawals-It's a win-win-win proposition for everyone, as well as a psychoanalytic breakthrough.

    Also, you don't have to sell your car, just do what many on this forum do-Park it and don't drive it for months at a time until an actual need arises for it.
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  7. #7
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    What your girlfriend isn't telling you is that she is worried about going out on a date with you if you have no car.

    I agree with the poster who says give her the keys for the summer. Or give them to your Dad. Just far enough away to make it inconvenient. Then try pedaling and see how it goes. To help yourself, you might want to make a bet with someone, so there is a penalty if you don't succeed.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Charlene's Avatar
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    Car-sharing?

    My husband and I also had misgivings about giving up our car. But it was the best thing we ever did. And after 1.5 years car free, we are in a car-sharing program. So if we really have the need for a truck, or hybrid car, or mini, or wagon, we just book one for the hour or the day.

    Check out the possibilities in your community, the money you might be spending to keep your truck in parking, insurance, maintenance, etc, could be used for a car-sharing membership. Then you have a car when you need it, and not when you don't.

    We use Zipcar, but it is not available everywhere. But there are also local organizations. Best of luck!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson
    Your Super-ego is totally giving you an Al Gore-style guilt trip about your excessive carbon emissions, your Id has excess libido energy to burn off in the form of cardiovascular exercise, your Ego is on an online forum asking for advice, and cycling helps ease cocaine withdrawals-It's a win-win-win proposition for everyone, as well as a psychoanalytic breakthrough.


    Go car lite first. Park your car in different places. When you can't remember where you left it, it's time to go car free.

  10. #10
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    You could resolve to always ride your bike to work whenever it's at all practical.

    If you can stick with that, I'm guessing you'll be able to get to work without a car 99% of the days that you can go to work at all. If that leaves you with 20 or fewer days per year where you can't really do without a car/truck, you're better off (money wise) selling your car and renting.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the helpful advice,

    Going out on dates isn't a problem at all. My girlfriend and I have been together for about 3 years and she also has a car. I think she just enjoys the convience of me having one too, I will admit it can be a hassle to pick me up if need be or to use her car all the time.

    I live in the Willamete Valley in Oregon and for about 7 months out of the year it rains down here. Do I just buy some rain gear and tough it out? I generally bike to the bus stop and then take public transportation to campus and back then bike home. But the more I get into cycling and more specifically touring I think that biking to campus would be a good workout to warm up.(About 15 miles)

    I definantly feel better when I take my bike instead of my car. I was pretty car free for a while but becuase of the weather and lack of sleep it is hard to not just sleep in and take my truck. I know the answer to this is just will power to get up a little earlier but it is hard.

    Do you have any suggestions for rain gear and bags so that I can carry something like groceries? Also the rain gear should be quality, like I said it rains a lot down here, often with added wind.

    Thanks for the replies so far

  12. #12
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go carfree. It is foolish and impossible. Keep the car.

  13. #13
    CARFREE, THE LIFE FOR ME Autokat's Avatar
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    I was carfree for quite a while before getting another then I used it to go everywhere so decided to get rid of it , then also sold my motorcycle because without the temptation I have to ride my bike to go anywhere I want or need to go . It was the only way due to having a motorcycle accident which left my leg badly ( and when I say bad I mean they nearly amputated it ) broken I spent a lot of time on my butt because I couldn't really get around and laziness got the better of me so I decided for my health I had to bite the bullet and just sell them , so I did and now I have a real nice bike with panniers ready to go anywhere and I also bought my kids a few things and some new furniture . And now I wouldn't go back if you paid me .
    I'm not myself today. Maybe I'm you.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I wouldn't go carfree. It is foolish and impossible. Keep the car.
    Go frick yoursellf arshole. What are you doing on the carfree forum, dising our thing?
    Last edited by vulpes; 05-23-07 at 08:35 PM.
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freud
    Thanks for all the helpful advice,

    Going out on dates isn't a problem at all. My girlfriend and I have been together for about 3 years and she also has a car. I think she just enjoys the convience of me having one too, I will admit it can be a hassle to pick me up if need be or to use her car all the time.

    I live in the Willamete Valley in Oregon and for about 7 months out of the year it rains down here. Do I just buy some rain gear and tough it out? I generally bike to the bus stop and then take public transportation to campus and back then bike home. But the more I get into cycling and more specifically touring I think that biking to campus would be a good workout to warm up.(About 15 miles)

    I definantly feel better when I take my bike instead of my car. I was pretty car free for a while but becuase of the weather and lack of sleep it is hard to not just sleep in and take my truck. I know the answer to this is just will power to get up a little earlier but it is hard.

    Do you have any suggestions for rain gear and bags so that I can carry something like groceries? Also the rain gear should be quality, like I said it rains a lot down here, often with added wind.

    Thanks for the replies so far
    I rode home from work 7.5 miles in the rain today and I got more smiles per mile than on a sunny day. It was fun. It wasn't very warm out, about 48 F. I had on a tee shirt, a long sleeve tee shirt, a flannel and a jean jacket with a rain jacket over that. On the bottom I had jeans covered with rain pants. I was afraid I would get over-heated but it worked out just about right. If I had over-heated I could have just shed a layer. I felt like a kid again, splashing in the puddles and laughing. It was great.
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I wouldn't go carfree. It is foolish and impossible. Keep the car.
    I must be superwoman then because I've never owned a car. It's not like a fresh faced youngster either.

  17. #17
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    I wouldn't go carfree. It is foolish and impossible. Keep the car.
    35, been car-free all my life.

  18. #18
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    I decided about nine months ago to give myself a break from the car. It was only going to be a break for a few weeks and now it's been nine months. Most of the time it's great. I much prefer riding bikes to driving a car.

    The only downside so far is that I go out at night alot less so I'm feeling kind of isolated (I'm single). I live in a suburban Los Angeles area where busses don't run late and there's not much nearby to do after dark. For some reason I don't like riding late at night very far. Maybe being female has something to do with it?

    Anyway you have a GF so you may not have that issue.

    oh and it hardly rains in LA so I can't help you much there...
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    Go frick yoursellf arshole. What are you doing on the carfree forum, dising our thing?


    Take it easy, man. I'm pretty sure he was kidding. I mean, I doubt even the president of Ford could say that living without a car is "impossible" with a straight face.

  20. #20
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    If you want to go radically car lite, you may as well go car free; a truck costs money, even if you don't use it. In addition, there's the willpower issue. In my case, I decided that it was just more practical not to have a car at all, mostly because I'm weak (I sometimes drove ten blocks just to buy coffee, and not even in the rain), but also because I actually don't need a car more than once or twice a year, so why pay all that money? In those rare instances that a truck is necessary (e.g., to haul a water heater), I borrow a truck from a friend. As for going out with the girlfriend, it depends on the girlfriend and what her values are, and on how much she likes you. (If she likes you a lot, not having a car is not an issue; if she doesn't like you, not even a nice car will help; if she's on the fence, and very materialistic, a car might tip the balance, but God help you in the long run...)
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  21. #21
    Dare to be weird!
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu


    Take it easy, man. I'm pretty sure he was kidding...
    Absolutely.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    Absolutely.
    Sorry. Must have just hit me at bad time. A winky smiley would have been appropriate.
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

  23. #23
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    Try getting to work by combining bike riding and driving. Find out the difference first before jumping into car free commute if you will like the bike ride everyday. With the price of gas on the rise, it's really a good idea to ride a bike to and from places these days plus staying fit and healthy.

  24. #24
    Dare to be weird!
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    Sorry. Must have just hit me at bad time. A winky smiley would have been appropriate.
    Stick around & it will become matchlessly clear. It's all good.

  25. #25
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    I have been without ownership of a car for about 7 months now, much healthier because of that. I belong to a carsharing group as one of the others mentioned as a good idea, currently using about one day a month. Hopefully that will go down as soon as I get my Xtracycle fitted. www.xtracycle.com
    My commute is 6km each way and I ride up to 40km a day, average is about 18-20km at he moment. I have ridden in weather down to -15C and 8 inches of snow. Bad weather takes some preparation and extra maintenance so learning to do your own fixing is a good idea. Clothing requirements vary depending on your location, if its not that cold and you can change when you get to work/school then just remember "skin don't leak" or at least it shouldn't. As a way of avoiding the temptation of using the truck, can you "disable" it? i.e. if you can park it off road and pull the plate. Its still there if you "need" it, but its enough of a pain that you won't be tempted to just do it if feeling a little lazy.

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